unified communications

A User Centric Approach to Communications and Collaboration Technologies

I had about 8 hours in the car the last two days so I spent some time catching up on the Industry Buzz Podcasts (http://www.ucstrategies.com/industry-buzz/)  from the UC Strategies Team (http://www.ucstrategies.com/). A lot of things stuck with me, and have helped me with my strategic approach to UC consulting and I wanted to share a few tips.

Whether you are a business looking to deploy a new communications solution, or you are a consultant deploying these services to a business, I think it is critical to remind yourself that Unified Communications should be 100% focused on the end users and not the technology.

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Posted on by Randy Wintle in Uncategorized 2 Comments

Understanding Lync Server Support Options

Microsoft recently made changes to the support options available to organizations deploying Microsoft Lync. Microsoft covered these changes in a Next Hop Blog Post- Expanded Lync Server Support Options. I wanted to provide an overview of these changes as I see them from a Microsoft Customer and Microsoft Partner perspective. This post will outline the pros and cons to the newly available support options.

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Posted on by Randy Wintle in Uncategorized Leave a comment

Lync Server 2013 Unleashed has been… Unleashed!

I am super proud to announce that the new book I Co-Authored, Lync Server 2013 Unleashed is now available! This book is available on Amazon in ebook and good ol paperback! http://amzn.com/0672336154

The Microsoft NextHop blog provided an incredibly generous review of the book, which is available here: http://blogs.technet.com/b/nexthop/archive/2013/04/17/hot-off-the-presses-microsoft-lync-server-2013-unleashed.aspx

What I want to do in this post is provide an overview of the sections in the book, and how they will apply to readers of all types. When we started writing this book we wanted it to be the number one resource for Lync. This includes covering all aspects of a Lync journey, from early conception to detailed troubleshooting and advanced technical scenarios. I have broken the readers down into two broad categories, although I am sure there are many other scenarios out there.

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Posted on by Randy Wintle in Uncategorized 2 Comments

An afternoon in NYC with Lync 2013- NYC Lync User Group

Quick announcement here:

See http://www.lyncusergroup.com for more details!

Meeting Details

August 16th 2012 2PM-5PM, an Afternoon in NYC with Lync 2013

The NYC Lync User Group will be conducting its next meeting on August 16th, 2012 at the Microsoft Manhattan Office!   This meeting will introduce everyone to Lync Server 2013. With all of the new features coming in Lync 2013, we will have plenty to talk about at this meeting. Food and Drink will be provided as well!

In addition to discussing Lync 2013, we will also have a special presentation from the Unify2 UC Adoption Team. “The switch from legacy telephony to unified communications is a high hurdle for many enterprises, and changing the way workers conduct meetings from in physical locations to online is an even steeper learning curve. Unify2 Adoption Services are designed to lay groundwork for increased user satisfaction and improved productivity, and to help our customers realize their ROI in a shorter timeframe.”

Agenda

Item

Time

Intros and Welcome 2:00PM-2:30PM
Lync 2013 – What is New (Overview) Speaker TBD 2:30PM-3:30PM
Lync 2013 Functionality Demo – Randy Wintle 3:45PM-4:00PM
Break 3:45PM-4:00PM
Driving UC Adoption in Your Enterprise- Unify2 UC Adoption Specialist 4:00PM-4:45PM
Sponsor Presentation- Jabra 4:45PM-5:00PM
Evaluation Surveys and Giveaways 5:00PM
Networking/Social Hour 5:00PM-6:00PM

 

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Posted on by Randy Wintle in Uncategorized Leave a comment

New York Lync User Group June Meeting: Lync E9-1-1

I will be giving a presentation with 911 Enable and Audiocodes next week in NYC around E911. If you are deploying enterprise voice with Lync, you will want to be there to learn about how to properly deploy E911.

http://www.lyncusergroup.com

 

(Hint: There may also be a Lync meeting invite on Wednesday if people are not able to make it on-site)

 

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NYC Lync User Group January Meeting: Mobility

I have decided to start up a User Group in New York for Lync! Our first meeting will be on Lync Mobility.

 

Check it out!

 

clip_image002[4] New York City User Group

 

About Us: The NYC Lync User Group is targeted at IT Pros and Developers interested in Microsoft Unified Communications. Our goal is to provide the NYC area with a vast amount of valuable information as it relates to all forms of Microsoft Unified Communications. Our meetings will include both Technical and Business information relating to Lync 2010, and other components of the Microsoft UC product suite.

The NYC Lync User Group will be conducting their first meeting January 19th, 2012! With the introduction of Microsoft Lync Mobile, businesses deploying Lync Mobility Features will need to understand the new architecture requirements, and the new features available to their users. This meeting will focus on Mobility in Lync Server 2010. Microsoft Most Valuable Professional Randy Wintle (Speaker Bio here) will present Lync Mobility including the following:

·         Lync Mobility Overview

·         Lync Mobility Platform and Features

·         Lync Mobility Architecture Overview

·         Important Lync Mobility Architecture Considerations for organizations

·         Live Demo (Windows Phone 7 and IOS)

Both Microsoft and Industry Lync Experts will be onsite to deliver this presentation, and help answer any questions related to Lync Server 2010.

For our first meeting, we will be raffling off an Xbox 360 Kinect Bundle in addition to other great Lync prizes!

Food and Drink will be provided free of charge by Plantronics.

Please see our website to register for this event and receive updates on all of our future events:

www.lyncusergroup.com

 

Like us on Facebook!

Date: January 19th, 2012

Time: 7PM EST

Location:
Microsoft NYC Office
1290 Avenue of the Americas, 6th Floor
New York, NY 10104
Phone: 212-245-2100

 

Brought to You By:

clip_image003[4]clip_image005[4]clip_image006[4]

 

See you there!

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Posted on by Randy Wintle in Lync, Unified Communications Leave a comment

Cannot login to Lync Control Panel “Unauthorized: Authorization Failed”

When accessing the Lync Control Panel you may receive this error:

 

image

One possible resolution to this issue is to make sure that your CSCP URL is in your Trusted Sites List. If you have already done this and are still receiving this error, head to the Lync Event Logs on your Lync Front End.

In my case there were a string of LS Remote PowerShell errors each time I attempted connecting to the Lync Control Panel.

The first error from the event logs that I saw was this:

 

Log Name: Lync Server

Source: LS Remote PowerShell

Date: 7/29/2011 7:22:46 AM

Event ID: 35007

Task Category: (3500)

Level: Warning

Keywords: Classic

User: N/A

Computer: LYNCSE1.contoso.local

Description:

Remote PowerShell cannot create InitialSessionState.

Remote PowerShell cannot create InitialSessionState for user: S-1-5-21-1369671878-2169378501-2720954840-500. Cause of failure: A network-related or instance-specific error occurred while establishing a connection to SQL Server. The server was not found or was not accessible. Verify that the instance name is correct and that SQL Server is configured to allow remote connections. (provider: SQL Network Interfaces, error: 26 – Error Locating Server/Instance Specified)

Cause: Remote PowerShell can fail to create InitialSessionState for varied number of reasons. Please look for other events that can give some specific information.

Resolution:

Follow the resolution on the corresponding failure events.

This error shows that it could not connect to the SQL Server due to a network error.

 

Log Name: Lync Server

Source: LS Remote PowerShell

Date: 7/29/2011 7:18:51 AM

Event ID: 35005

Task Category: (3500)

Level: Error

Keywords: Classic

User: N/A

Computer: LYNCSE1.contoso.local

Description:

Remote PowerShell cannot read the RBAC Roles information from the store.

Remote PowerShell encountered problem when trying to read the RBAC Roles information for the user. Cause of failure: A network-related or instance-specific error occurred while establishing a connection to SQL Server. The server was not found or was not accessible. Verify that the instance name is correct and that SQL Server is configured to allow remote connections. (provider: SQL Network Interfaces, error: 26 – Error Locating Server/Instance Specified)

Cause: The failure may have happened due to some permissions issue in reading the management store.

Resolution:

Make sure that the server is domain joined machine and able to query the active directory.

This error shows that there were issues retrieving my RBAC information from the CMS.

The resolution for this issue ended up being to start the SQL Browser Service on the Lync Front End.

This service provides connecting users with the ability to discover proper connection information when attempting to make a SQL Connection.

After starting this service, logins to the Lync Control Panel worked again.

image

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Posted on by Randy Wintle in Lync, Lync Server 2010, Networking, Unified Communications 6 Comments

Lync RBAC with Child Domains Bug- Fixed in CU2

Prior to Lync Server CU2, if you attempted to create a custom Administrator Role to a child domain, with a user scope set to that child domain it would not work. Example Provided Below:

Contoso.com: Empty root domain

Site 1:Child1.contoso.com

1x Std Edition Front End w/ CMS

Site2: child2.contoso.com

1x Std Edition Front End

Lets say we wanted to create a custom admin role that gave an administrator in the CHILD2 domain to manage his users specifically in the CHILD2 domain. Assume In this scenario you would be logged into the CHILD1 domain with full admin permission on all domains, and CSAdministrator.

The cmdlet would look like this:

New-CSAdminRole –Idenetity Child2CSUserAdministrator –UserScopes “OU:ou=Users,dc=child2,dc=contoso,dc=com” –Template CSUserAdministrator

Before Applying CU2 you would receive the following error:

Set-CSAdminRole : Organization unity (OU) or container “ou=Users,dc=child2,dc=contoso,dc=com” does not exist. Specify a valid OU or container, and then try again.

Once you apply CU2 this error would go away and you would successfully be able to create the custom Admin Role.

Another similar issue with creating or modifying admin roles to have a use OU scope, is that they are Case Sensitive! The OU must be in the exact case as is seen in Active Directory. See the screenshot below for an example, in my lab, when trying to set an admin role with “users” instead of “Users” it fails, switching to “Users” succeeds.

clip_image002

Hope this helps!

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Posted on by Randy Wintle in Lync, Lync Server 2010, Microsoft, RBAC, Unified Communications 1 Comment

Deploying DSCP QoS On Server 2003 R2 and Server 2008 R2

This is a brief post to summarize my experiences with deploying quality of service in a recent deployment.

In this engagement, the customer had existing OCS 2007 R2 infrastructure, these were running Server 2003 R2 with the latest service pack, and were running on HP hardware with Teamed NICS for redundancy, not load balancing.

When attempting to deploy packet tagging on the servers using the QoS Packet Scheduler and related policies, packets would not tag at all. When breaking the NIC Team packets would tag, and on any servers without a teamed NIC the same policies worked fine. This was identified as a known issue with 2003 R2 and Teamed NICS.

The good news, is that while we are upgrading to Lync Server 2010 their new servers are running Server 2008 R2 and on similar hardware with Teamed NICS. As of today we have tested QoS deployed using the packet scheduler and related policies and it does work with the Team.

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Posted on by Randy Wintle in Lync, Lync Server 2010, Microsoft, Networking, OCS 2007 R2, Unified Communications Leave a comment

Deploying a Lync SBA? Watch out for port 444 (Updated with more ports)

As Lync deployments start ramping up, we are starting to notice a few gotchas in documentation and deployments. One thing that has come up a couple of times is deploying a Lync SBA in a branch site with a firewall between the Datacenter and branch office.

The firewall ports required for the SBA are not well documented, particularly one that is very important to making the SBA Work.

Port 444 TCP is required for front end to SBA communications, below is the only documentation I have found on it so far in the CHM.

Front End Servers

Front-End service

444

HTTPS

TCP

Used for HTTPS communication between the Focus (the Lync Server component that manages conference state) and the individual servers.

This port is also used for TCP communication between Front End Servers and Survivable Branch Appliances.

 

I reviewed the Lync 2010 Workloads Poster and it is not showing this port as well. However, I have requested an update which we will hopefully see soon.

So, very important, open port 444 TCP between your Data Center and your Branch Office or users will not be able to register against the SBA. Reference of the ports can be seen below.

 

image

As a follow up, one of my colleagues pulled together the full list of firewall requirements for branch users. As many enterprises have firewalls between branch and central sites, this list becomes very important. Look for a workloads poster focused on firewalls from Microsoft soon, but hopefully this comes by then. Credit for this list goes to Peter Pawlak at UnifySquare:

SBA (ASM side) <-> Central Site Pool(s):

· TCP/5061 (both ways)

· TCP/444 (both ways)

· TCP/445

· TCP/448

· TCP/5062-5065

· TCP/5072-5073

· TCP/5076

· TCP/5080

(NOTE: I’m not 100% positive that ports in RED are really needed)

SBA -> Monitoring Server(s) (to support MSMQ)

· TCP/135

· TCP/389

· TCP/1801

· TCP/2101

· TCP/2103

· TCP/2105

SBA (ASM side) <-> Exchange UM servers

· TCP/5061

· UDP/<ExUM media port range>

SBA (ASM side) <-> Edge Server(s):

· TCP/5061

· TCP/5062

CMS servers -> SBA (ASM side) (for local config store replication)

· TCP/4443

· TCP/444

· TCP/445

Branch Clients -> SBA (ASM side):

· TCP/5061 (client->SBA)

· TCP

· UDP/<media port range> (assumes no media bypass)

Branch Clients <-> SBA (GW side):

· UDP/<media port range> (assumes media bypass will be used)

Branch Clients -> Central site Pool (must be pool in site associated with Branch site)

· TCP/8057 (and TCP/8058 if using Lync’s legacy data conf service)

· TCP/5061 (to allow failover to backup central site)

· TCP/<app share conf MCU port range>

· UDP/<A/V conf MCU port range>

Branch Clients -> Central site Pool Web service HLB VIP (pool in site associated with Branch site)

· TCP/443

· TCP/80 (needed by Lync PE devices)

Branch clients <-> Clients & Mediation servers/services in other sites

· UDP/ <media port range>

· TCP/<media port range>

Branch clients <-> Edge servers (running media relay)

· UDP/3478

· UDP/ <media port range>

· TCP/443

· TCP/<media port range>

Branch clients -> Exchange UM servers

· UDP/<ExUM media port range>

Branch clients -> Exchange CAS servers (for EWS)

· TCP/443

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Posted on by Randy Wintle in Lync, Microsoft, Networking, Unified Communications 8 Comments